There is only one way to explain how Virat Kohli consistently keeps accumulating runs in bulk for such a long period – his hunger for runs every time he walks into the middle. The intention the Indian captain shows in picking up quick singles, converting the easy ones to twos and twos to threes, and piling up boundaries is insane.
In fact, he has scored the most fours in a span of 10 years than any other batsman in the world.
Interestingly, this David Warner insta story came out on the same day I wrote this article. The Australian opener was on praise for Virat, and he was fair that nobody’s chasing him on the runs aggregates or the century counts.
Virat Kohli has seven double centuries in Tests and 5 IPL centuries to date – talks loud about his supreme adapting skill. And, his ODI numbers are only next to the master, Sachin Tendulkar.
So, what’s behind all these numbers under his name? What makes him super consistent?
In this article, I tried to bring to you the five factors (apart from his technical skills) I thought were the reasons why Virat is Virat, the Insane.
Man, he is fit!
It’s easy to say Virat is the one who brought a wholesome change in the way Indian cricket approached fitness. The culture of including the Yo-Yo test in Indian team selection was introduced when Virat was captain. And that was only the start. We know how good Indian fielding has transformed into now.
Anyone who has been an avid follower of cricket during Virat’s early days must have seen the transformation he has gone through personally. He used to be the chubby kid of the team who now has turned into a beast, standing tall as one of the best fielders in the team. His fielding skills are second to none, even in this energy-filled Indian team.
This has reflected well in his batting too. You will hardly notice Virat shedding sweats at least before his half-century. That’s how fit he is. It might sound simple, but anyone who knows the game or played it in any form will understand the effort he puts into it. It simply means that his innings start after scoring his fifties; that’s insane enough. The quick twos and threes he runs after batting for 40-odd overs were next to impossible just a few years back.
The intend itself
We know how hard he trains physically. But it takes an equal effort to be mentally strong like he has been. Every time he walks into bat, he looks like he wants to score big. Yes, it is the same for every batsman, but he stands out right from how he approaches his first few deliveries.
The mere sight of him middling the first ball with ease puts the opposition bowler under pressure. The Virat’s Edgbaston century, when every Indian walked out like sitting ducks, is a prime example of how strong he is inside. The intensity and the energy oozes out every time he is in the middle. It is addictive to watch Virat playing. One can’t just get enough of that.
I remember once when Harsha Bhogle, on one of his videos for Cricbuzz, neatly put down Virat’s batting style in his words. He compared Virat with Rafael Nadal of Tennis, saying, ‘for every run, Virat gives everything he has.’
Thriving under pressure situations
Virat loves challenges. No doubt about that. A simple fact that he has more ODI centuries in chasing than while batting first tells how good he is when challenged. With targets on board, he is just unstoppable. You can read about his ODI chasing records in this article.
Virat’s 133* against Sri Lanka in Hobart in 2013 is not just his own, but one of cricket’s best batting displays to have been witnessed. You can relive that innings here – the one which Sourav Ganguly rated one of ODI’s bests.
He is what he is!
If you check out how his runs tally improved over the years in all three formats, you will understand how he has turned into a legend from an enthusiastic youngster. But if there is one thing that doesn’t change from his starting days, it’s his energy on the field.
I believe the greatest lesson one can derive from Virat Kohli’s career is: Be yourself.
“I think being authentic to yourself is very, very important. If engaging in a contest, sometimes needling the opposition, is getting the best out of Virat, and it certainly is because his level of performance is second to none in the world today, then so be it. You can’t blame him for it,” said Dravid while speaking at the Bangalore Literature Festival three years back.
Man of all formats
I have mentioned this already at the beginning of the article. Virat Kohli is the best in the business because of his ability to excel in all three international formats out there. Him being himself every time is one major reason why he can top all forms of the game. He never tries hard. Never plays shots that are unlike him. Moreover, it is his ability to mould his game suitable to the formats that make him stand out.
He plays his usual shots in all three formats. However, he keeps his mindset on par with the format and shifts gears based on the need of the game. The fact that he can play three to four different shots for every delivery helps him to play the way he wants to.
Virat’s in his early 30s now, and if he plays till 38, he will end his career with some huge numbers under his name. Here is my estimation of how many centuries he will score before the end of his career.
It is again based on multiple factors as things are not the same after the pandemic, and it will take some time for things to get normal. One doesn’t know how many tournaments will go forward as planned. Still, the fact that Virat is one of the masters of the game is not going to change.
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